It was all business, that is, until it was time to relax

by Mac Lacy 8. October 2010 01:37

Play hard?  No problems there.  Especially in a city that was getting its groove on at its annual Red River Revel festival, one of Louisiana's biggest and baddest music and arts events.  The entire delegation was taken to the festival, treated to all they could enjoy in the way of regional foods and beverages and was given ringside seats to some great Louisiana blues music.  The evening was one no one will forget.

"Wow!  The Red River Revel was everything we'd heard it would be for our delegates," said conference CEO Joe Cappuzzello.  "Stacey Brown, Dianna Douglas, Kim Brice and their entire staff went over the top in bringing our meeting planners and destinations to this great event.  And when you add their superb opening evening dinner, Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau really did themselves proud."

In addition to Shreveport's signature evening events and hospitality, delegates enjoyed hosted breakfasts and lunches, marketplace refreshments, welcome receptions and more. 

"I don't think the entertainment could have been any better," said conference partner Herb Sparrow.  "It was very important that our inaugural conference set the bar high in that regard and Shreveport and their partners did their part.  I think the word of mouth coming from this conference will be very positive and will enable us to move into our second year on a very strong note."

Social marketing speaker Lesley Kyle, right, previewed a sponsor's material before delegates arrived for a meal

The Gemini Cruise Mardi Gras Museum was a hit during Shreveport's sightseeing tour

Delegates in custom T-shirts took time to shop for fine handcrafts at the Red River Revel

Delegates took a moment to pose with conference partner Herb Sparrow at Red River Revel

Shreveport's Red River Revel was a smash hit with delegates

Conference partners Charlie Presley and Joe Cappuzzello shared a moment with Dianna Douglas, far right, and others at the Red River Revel

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2010 SMM Conference

It was all business at the new Small Market Meetings Conference in Shreveport, Louisiana

by Mac Lacy 8. October 2010 01:22

There were two distinct sides to the first Small Market Meetings Conference held October 4-6 in sunny Shreveport, Louisiana.  The first was all business, the second was all fun.  The meeting planners who attended from 18 states did a superb job of accommodating both.

"Work hard, play hard.  That's what we tell them," said conference partner Mac Lacy.  "Our office in Ohio runs a very straightforward business model for all our conferences and we followed it again for Small Market Meetings.  We were all about generating new meeting business for dozens of smaller destinations during the day, and we were about enjoying each others' company in the evenings. Not a bad formula."

The business side of the conference included more than 2,000 individual meetings between buyers and sellers of meeting sites and services, three professional development seminars on topics like social media, dealing with aging boomer delegates and online RFP technology, and exploring the huge upside to smaller meeting destinations in terms of cost, convenience and service compared to larger cities.

"We couldn't be happier with the first conference," said partner Charlie Presley.  "We had committed delegates who understood that in today's economy, value and service count.  And our planners were here because they see a big upside in those areas to second and third-tier cities."

Kim  Dolan, center, and Tammy Knox, right, registered a meeting planner at Small Market Meetings Conference

Kelly Tyner, center, and Vickie Mitchell, right, registered two meeting planners in Shreveport

Business was brisk in two marketplace sessions between planners and destinations at the conference

The Little Rock CVB sponsored a luncheon for delegates in Shreveport

Attendees learned about aging baby boomer clients during the Extreme Aging seminar in Shreveport

Volunteers described the aging process during the Extreme Aging seminar with Dr. Vicki Rosebrook, right

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2010 SMM Conference

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